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A NEW HOLIDAY DECORATING TREND

christmas wreathThere are 18 sleeps until Christmas. Have you decorated yet?? I’ve had a hard time figuring out how to deck our halls with crawling 8-month old puttering around. Our oversized Christmas tree doesn’t really seem practical. It would eat up half of Carter’s crawling space. And since he’s discovered a love of cords I’m not really willing to add even more electrical hazards to the mix. So I’m considering an alternative this year – a modern update on the Christmas wreath!

Wall-mounted Christmas decor isn’t new. We actually shared an adorable Christmas Tree DIY last year, but I’m in the mood for something a little different. A little modern. I’ve been seeing a lot of different wreath options pop up all over Pinterest, but I’m loving this asymmetrical version. Its simplicity gives it a cool, chic feel, but the use of olive branches lend a rustic touch.

 

The steps to create something like this are actually pretty simple.

STEP ONE: Cut standard 18-inch wire wreath frame in half, creating a crescent shape

STEP TWO: Gather small bunches of olive branches and overlay them down the wreath frame, securing them with wire. Move along the wreath frame with the branches all going in the same direction.

STEP THREE: Reverse the direction of your olive branch bundles for the last third of the wreath frame that you have left

STEP FOUR: Take a piece of silky ribbon and tie a bow around the empty spot where your branch stems meet.

STEP FIVE: Tie a long piece of twine to each end of the wreath frame for hanging.

I think this is one project I can actually pull off before Christmas Eve rolls around!

Source: apartment34.com

Terrible Credit? Here’s How You Can Land A Great Apartment

Friends-Sitting-On-Roof-Talking-11-30
A poor credit score can negatively impact how landlords view your application, but it doesn’t have to keep you from scoring a great apartment.

Your credit score is like your financial report card. It’s a measure of creditworthiness, and places such as banks or lenders associate this number with your level of financial responsibility. Just as a D in high school geometry had severe consequences on your TV time, a bad credit score can really come back to bite you.

Lenders won’t give you low interest rates, banks may turn you down for loans, and worst of all for renters, landlords may not allow you to rent. That all sounds pretty dire, but here’s the good news: You can get proactive about improving your credit score.

Paying off debt, keeping low balances on your cards, and establishing a history of paying your bills on time and in full will contribute to a better score.

But that all takes time, and you may need to sign a lease on that apartment for rent in Boston, MA, before your credit score has improved. Fear not: If you have terrible credit that you’re working to correct, you can still land a great apartment — you just need to try a few of these strategies.

Prepare a letter of explanation

If your financial situation looks bad on paper because of a terrible credit score, but in reality your finances are in good shape, you may be able to write a letter of explanation to the landlord. This document is just what it seems: a letter that explains why there’s a discrepancy between your credit score and the current health of your finances.

Provide as much detail as possible and include documentation for any claims that you make. In addition, plan to get letters from a past landlord or a current employer. Past landlords can vouch for you, attesting to the fact that you paid your rent on time and in full. Employers can verify your employment status and your income.

You can also ask for recommendations from others who understand your financial situation (such as a financial adviser) to further show you’re more financially responsible and capable than your credit score may suggest.

Prepare to offer more cash upfront (and other incentives)

Landlords may deny you if you apply with a poor credit score. Looking at it from their perspective, this harsh move makes sense: They’re simply trying to protect their own financial interests.

While it’s hard to judge someone by a single metric, credit scores can provide insight into whether you’ll be able to afford your rent — or how likely you are to pay each month. Considering this, putting down a larger cash deposit can help ease a landlord’s fears.

Besides cash, there are other ways to negotiate renting with bad credit: You can offer to move in immediately so a landlord doesn’t have to deal with vacancies. Or you can ask to sign a shorter lease, so their perceived time of risk is shorter.

Set up automatic payments

In addition to putting down a larger cash deposit, you can provide a landlord with peace of mind by offering to set up automatic rent payments each month. This way, there are no concerns about human error (such as forgetting to mail a paper check), and the landlord knows the rent payment will be made in full and on time, every month.

Terrible credit can hinder your ability to get the apartment you want — but it doesn’t have to be the final word on your search for a great apartment. By being proactive, you can ease a potential landlord’s concerns about your financial situation and show that you’re prepared to handle the rent payments and secure your ideal home. And best of all, paying monthly rent can actually build your credit history and help raise that less-than-ideal score.

Source: trulia.com ~ By Kali Hawlk

Using up the Thanksgiving Leftovers

For a More Peaceful Home: Minimize Your Tech

minimize technologyDo you wish your home was more of a peaceful sanctuary? A getaway from the hectic world? A place you can relax in, yes, but more importantly, recharge in? There’s something you can do that could add to a sanctuary feel, and it involves minimizing the appearance or existence of tech in your home.

Is the technology in your home getting out of control? Taking over your rooms? Distracting you from living? Sucking you into hours-long Netflix binge sessions? You might consider finding a way to make technology take more of a backseat in your home, particularly if you work at a job where you’re in front of a computer all day (or if you have a bad habit of comparison-surfing on social media on your breaks).

Consider doing a home tech assessment to see where you can purge, where you can declutter and how you can help the technology in your home make your life better, rather than more distracted or stressful. Consider the ideas below if you think your home tech setups could use a makeover (or make-under).

Let go of or disguise your television

If you feel like you watch too much television (that novel’s not going to write itself, you know), you might consider getting rid of your television set all together. Doing so will make your living room focus again on conversation, connection or creative endeavors. If you’re not ready to get rid of your television completely, consider disguising it with decor so that it doesn’t stand out so much.

Declutter your old tech

Still have a VCR in your media center just in case you want to watch that couple of tapes you’ve been toting around for years? Or that old computer you replaced long ago but haven’t gotten around to recycling? Or a drawer full of old phones? Or even just some technology you don’t use like a gifted e-reader? These things are just dust catchers now, and getting them out of your house and out of sight will not only free up more space, but also make your home just feel better.

Upgrade to sleeker, smaller and wireless

Can that clunky stereo system you’ve had since college be upgraded to a newer, smaller, wireless speaker system? Do you have the budget to upgrade to a screen and projection system for movie nights so you can roll the screen up and out of the way when you’re done? If you’re not a big tech person, you might have old technology that’s clunkier than it has to be. Grab a tech-loving friend to help you upgrade the technology you do need and use so the stuff you have in your home is as streamlined and useful as possible.

Handle the wires

Because not everything in the world is powered wirelessly, chances are you have wires somewhere in your home, even after a good tech purge. Put the work in to organizing them and your home will look and function better.

Go for furniture that doesn’t scream “entertainment center”

Remember that time a couple a decades ago when furniture was made to show off and display your technology, and words like “entertainment center” and “media center” became things you actually wanted in your home? No more, please. Invest in high-quality furniture made for tech that hides seamlessly behind doors and drawers or DIY existing furniture to house the tech you need without screaming “this is where I keep my Roku!”

Tuck away daily technology

From the cell phone, to the cell phone charger, to the iPad to your laptop — these are all pieces of technology we need that can (and usually do) bring joy and helpfulness to our lives. But that doesn’t mean they need to be laying around visible all the time. Carve out or create spots that they “live” in that are tucked away out of sight so when you’re finished with them you can really set them down, hide them away and focus on other activities.

Source: apartmenttherapy.com

6 Sneaky Ways to Make Your Home Look Expensive

pottery-barn-build-youro-ownWant your place to look like those home design website images you drool over? Of course you do! Problem is, your budget may not match your design aspirations. Fear not! Making your home look high-end isn’t always about spending tons of cash.

It’s a matter of taking the time and care to arrange things in an eye-pleasing way—and making small, inexpensive updates that have a big impact. In other words, it’s about being sneaky.

Here are a few tricks to pull if you want to add the illusion of luxury.

1. Declutter

Nothing says “this home ain’t worth much” like tons of disjointed knickknacks, piles of books, and other miscellaneous items that should be tossed or stored.

No, you don’t need to go full Marie Kondo, but going through your rooms and getting rid of anything that doesn’t mesh with your personal style is a great first step toward transforming your home from average to exceptional.

Walk through each room of your home and edit items. Make some tough decisions. Sure, you love your grandma’s vintage Chinese vase, but does it really jibe with your West Elm look? It might be time to store it or let it live in another room with similar family heirlooms.

Next step: Tackle any stuff that piles up—toys (if you have kids), shoes by the door, mail on the dining table. At the very least, find places for your stuff to live in a more organized way; an upgraded closet with beautifully sorted nooks and crannies looks luxurious. (Pro tip: We love Pottery Barn’s build-your-own pieces.)

2. Eliminate grunge

You may not have time for intensive cleaning on a weekly basis, but a once- or twice-yearly deep clean is an easy way to make your home look far more luxurious. After all, you rarely see a mansion with dirty baseboards.

Go through your home and search for overlooked areas that have become dirty and downright gross. You’ll want to pay special attention to the grouting, says designer Young Huh.

“Having old tile cleaned and regrouted makes a huge difference in having your bathroom look sparkly and fresh,” she says. Best of all: The process is simple and inexpensive.

Get sparkly new floors–minus the refinishing. Try steam cleaning wood floors for an immediate lift to the finish.

3. Add—or rearrange—lighting

Designers use lighting to define spaces and separate rooms, making a small space grand.

Think of your living room—where you might have a reading nook, sofas and chairs for company, and a television. Visually differentiate among the areas by using different kinds of lighting: Add a table lamp beside your cozy reading chair and sconces behind your couch for conversation. Consider a dimmer for overhead lights. Architects and lighting designers swear by them. Installing is a relatively simple DIY.

Bonus cheapskate tip: Use warm-colored lightbulbs, Huh says. Cool tones are a “sure-fire way to make your home look down-market,” she says. Daylight bulbs work best for reading nooks.

8-Inch Fused Glass Closet Door Pulls Large Cabinet Pulls Amber White Home Decor Door Hardware Office Kitchen Bathroom Extra Large Pulls

4. Upgrade your hardware

Don’t have a kitchen renovation in the budget? You can get a similar effect for much less by swapping out old, dated hardware for new.

Tired of your brushed-steel drawer pulls? Try gold, bronze, or even crystal—or make an adventure of it and scour your local thrift store for vintage hardware that screams your style.

It’s not hard to find attractive options in any decor style for next to nothing (a drawer pull, for instance, might start at just $3 or less). For hard-to-find designs, search etsy.

Changing the countertop and faucets is another change that can make your home look much pricier, Huh says. If you have the budget, exchange your dated sink accessories for something fresh that matches your brand-new hardware.

5. Repaint

There’s no simpler way to make an old home feel new than painting.

“This is the most important part,” Huh says. “Repaint and choose beautiful colors for an instant makeover.”

You can’t go wrong with classy neutrals. Minimalists might love a bright white combined with a bold accent wall; DIY decorators might enjoy a tasteful, sandy tan tone, which pairs well with any number of woods.

Paint isn’t just for your walls: Add some color to your front door, window trims, or even the floor, if you’re brave (hardwood can look amazing when painted white).

Family Room Vignette

6. Focus on the devil in the (decor) details

Does your home feel a little meh—and you’re not sure how to change it? Try vignettes—combine decor items (e.g., vases, frames, and objets) that add visual interest to an otherwise bland area—perhaps a shelf or console table.

Organize your vignette around a theme so that the decor items are unified and tell a visual story. Go around your house and cull items you love that need a new home (see tip No. 1 on decluttering).

For example, take that silver tray you’ve been wanting a use for, add a glass tumbler with a fresh flower, that postcard your parents sent from Thailand, and a white bowl filled with colorful candy. Voilà: You now have a magazine-worthy vignette!

Another way to go: Grouping together multiples of the same object (e.g., glass vases in the same color) is an instant update. Decorators often use odd numbers because they are said to be more appealing.

Before you know it, you’ll be posting pics of your gorgeous home.

Source: realtor.com ~ Author: Jamie Wiebe

What To Do With That Small, Awkward Gap Behind the Sofa

If you float your living room furniture (and you should consider it) then you might have one of those pesky spots that’s not quite big enough for traditional furniture, but it’s too big to completely ignore. What to do, what to do? Sometimes it’s 12 inches, and sometimes a few feet. Either way, it’s an opportunity.

There’s usually always enough room for a leaning mirror against the wall. If it’s large enough, like this one in Roger and Chris’ home, you’ll get the illusion of furniture with its reflection of whatever is across the room. (Lead photo above)

A bookcase behind the sofa is a great way to add a little texture — and a little storage — to your living room. (Naturally, things you don’t use as much go directly behind the couch.)

Rohde had just enough space behind his living room sofa for a slim desk that fit his laptop. Instant office.

These art ledges, filled with frames, disappear behind the pink sofa and go down to the floor, as captured by Annika von Holdt. The wall is a huge statement.

A narrow console table is a great opportunity for displaying vignettes, or a pretty pair of lamps. Steve and Stacy used theirs for bookshelves and other accessories.

This floating shelf behind Nina’s sofa is wide enough for some plants. Since it’s also the same color as the walls, it’s not hugely visible as well.

I’m intrigued by the narrow ledge behind the sofa in this Paris apartment, designed by Sarah Lavoine. Is it functional storage, or just a built-in feature? I can imagine a similar IKEA hack happening.

Source: apartmenttherapy.com

Last-Second Pumpkin DIY that is Scary Good

diypumpkinapt342I won’t lie, it’s been quite a while since Halloween has been top of mind. It’s just never been one of my favorite holidays.  But now that Carter’s first Halloween is around the corner, I’m feeling compelled to get in the spirit – quickly!

But I definitely want to stay true to my aesthetic so the standard jack-o-lantern just won’t do the trick. This no-carve pumpkin DIY, on the other hand, is super chic. And since it takes less than five minutes to make, it fits perfectly into my overly-packed schedule.

diypumpkinapt34

Around here, no orange gourds will do. They just don’t mesh with my color palette people! With this look it’s all about the muted hues: white, gray and various shades of pale green. The funkier the better.

Then all you need is a box of crayons, a hair dryer and five minutes to complete the look! Now that I can handle.

no-carve-pumpkin-decorating

The final result is a little bit spooky, a little bit artistic and a lot cool. This is taking modern pumpkins to a whole other level don’t you think?

Are you the Halloween loving type? Whether you’ve already had your costume figured out for months or you’re scrambling for inspiration {like me}, I know you’ll appreciate this tabletop, this drink, these costumes for the adults and these costumes for the littles.

Happy haunting friends!

Source: apartment34.com

 

5 Tips for Haute Halloween Decor

Halloween is almost here, and before you know it, trick-or-treaters will be ringing your doorbell. Decorating your house for the season should be easy, fun, and bring just the right amount of spookiness.

Follow these simple tips to bring hauntingly elegant Halloween flair to any area of your home.

1. Drape spooky fabric as a base

Whether you’re decorating a buffet, side table, or even front door, fabric is a great base layer. Stretch cheesecloth to mimic cobwebs, then drape it haphazardly to create a little Halloween drama.

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2. Place black branches for accents

A great way to hint at the Halloween season without going too cheesy is to use bare black branches. You can cut some from your yard, strip the leaves off if they haven’t fallen yet, and give them a quick coat of black spray paint.

If DIY isn’t for you, many stores have caught onto this trend, and you’ll find a variety of black branch wreaths and even candle holders.

Image 73. Light some black candles

Few things say magic like flickering candles. To really play up the season, trade in your traditional white tapers for black. Nothing is more stylishly spooky than black candles in a black candle holder.

For added effect, place the candle holder and lit candles in front of a mirror. The reflection gives off a truly eerie glow.

4. Plant black and white pumpkins

Trade the usual orange pumpkins in for some black and white. The white ones are available any local farmer’s market. For the black, head to your local craft store. They have these faux black pumpkins in a variety of sizes this time of year.

Image 5 5. Sprinkle in a few seasonal symbols

Don’t go overboard with the spiders and bats, but a few of these Halloween symbols spread throughout your vignette can add just the right finishing touch. For example, a raven is the perfect creepy character to tuck into your scene.

Another nice touch is a candy bowl with some real seasonal personality. The stores are crawling with spider- and claw-adorned serving bowls. Just stick to the black and white palette, and it won’t compete with your other decor.

Image 6Whether you’re decorating for a party or just making your home festive for youzillor family, these tips will turn your Halloween house into the hit of the block.

Source: zillow.com ~ By: 

Budget-Busting Bad Habits You Need to Break

We all have bad habits. Some of us stay up a bit too late each night. Others work too much or snack when they aren’t hungry (guilty!). Some bad habits are small and relatively harmless, while others can affect your health or well-being a great deal. But some of the worst bad habits don’t necessarily have to do with health– they have to do with finances.

Budget-Busting Bad Habits You Need to Break

Think about the way you spend money. Do you follow your budget perfectly, spending only as much as you make and saving an ideal amount each month? If so, you’re a financial wizard and don’t need to read any further.

If not, you– like most of the rest of us– have at least one bad financial habit that could be broken. Here are some of the most common budget-busting bad habits you should try to break as soon as possible:

Dipping Into Savings

Living paycheck to paycheck is no easy feat. It takes a serious commitment to create a budget and stick to it– something not everyone is great at. Some people find the lifestyle easier than others, but inevitably, no matter how good you are at it, you’ll need to dip into your savings at one point or another.

Budget-Busting Bad Habits You Need to Break - Dipping into Savings

You have money saved up for a reason, so if you’re withdrawing from savings for an emergency purchase or an unexpected necessity, that’s one thing. But if you’re taking money out of savings because you ran out of money and there are still a couple of days until your next paycheck, that’s different. The worst part about this practice? It’s one of the hardest bad habits to break once you start. Do your best to stick to your budget and avoid that slippery slope altogether.

Embracing Credit a Little Too Much …

Similarly, many people lean on their credit cards when they’re earning a starting salary. While credit cards are useful tools, maxing them out is a financial burden you want to avoid as much as possible. And the more you spend on your credit card, the longer it will take you to pay off the balance, which means you’re basically throwing money away for the interest you’re being charged.

 

If you know you’re likely to get into bad credit habits, force yourself to spend only as much as you can pay back right away– that way, you’ll avoid debt.

… And Paying the Minimum

Don’t forget that if you do have more on your credit card than you can pay back immediately, it’s a bad idea to pay only the minimum required each month. As bad habits go, this one is costly.

Budget-Busting Bad Habits You Need to Break - And Paying the Minimum

Think of it this way: If you pay twice the minimum payment each month, you’ll pay a fraction of the interest you would have. That could mean saving hundreds!

Failing to Account for Smaller Purchases

Are you a coffee-shop-before-work-every-day kind of person? Or someone who would rather buy lunch than bring it from home? While these things may be delicious and convenient, they’re certainly bad habits that could be costing a lot of money.

Budget-Busting Bad Habits You Need to Break - Failing to Account for Smaller Purchases

Even if you buy a simple black coffee every morning for a year, that’s a good $500 or $600 down the drain– a more complicated drink makes that total skyrocket. Though the purchases may seem small at the time, make sure you’re keeping track of every last penny spent. And if you need to, cut down on those small expenses.

Grocery Shopping Without a Plan

Buying groceries rather than eating out for every meal is a great way to spend money. However, grocery shopping can be a source of money-related bad habits. For one thing, many people spend more than they budget on impulse buys (like those frozen taquitos that are on sale). Avoid this by making a list before heading to the store and buying only what’s on it.

Budget-Busting Bad Habits You Need to Break - Grocery Shopping Without a Plan

Another common grocery shopping issue? Buying food you won’t eat before its expiration date. If you notice yourself throwing away food from your fridge regularly, you may need to start planning your meals and grocery shopping a little better.

Emotional Buying

When I have a bad day, nothing makes me feel better than a quick shopping trip or drowning my sorrows in Thai food (crab rangoons are my Achilles’ heel). But as good as emotional purchasing may feel, it’s hard on your bank account.

Budget-Busting Bad Habits You Need to Break - Emotional Buying

Limit these expenditures when possible, or work them into your budget if you know you’re in for a stressful week or month.

Paying Bills Manually

Believe it or not, if you’re still paying your bills yourself each month, you may be costing yourself some money. Between rent, electricity, cable, Internet, gas, and everything else, keeping track of bills can be tough– and not keeping track carefully enough can lead to expensive late charges.

Automate as much as you can. You’ll avoid late fees, but you’ll also find you’re less stressed about bills each month.

Source: apartmentguide.com ~ by

 

7 Things to Think About Before Adopting a Pet

It might happen when you’re out running errands: A local shelter has set up an adoption event outside the grocery store, and you’re drawn to the happy wagging tail of a black lab. Or perhaps the moment comes when you’re visiting a friend. “Oh, my neighbor’s cat just had kittens,” she says. “You have to look– they’re so cute.”

7 Things to Think About Before Adopting a Pet

It’s even possible that you’ll happen upon the moment yourself. In an attempt to de​-stress, you pull up the website for your local humane society. I’m just looking, you think. It’s not like I’m going to adopt a puppy or kitten today.

And then, out of nowhere, you fall in love.

Before you decide to take any furry friends home, however, there are some things to think about. Here are seven questions you should ask before you adopt a pet:

1. What Does My Lease Say?

It’s not enough to make sure your building allows pets.

Make sure you understand what your landlord expects as far as notification, and whether or not your landlord or the building has any additional deposits or monthly charges for keeping an animal– you’ll likely have to pay a bit more each month than if you were moving in sans cuddly creature.

2. Can I Afford a Pet?

Thoroughly research your potential pet’s monthly food and care needs, and figure out how that will fit into your budget. Don’t forget to include regular and emergencyveterinary costs, and consider building an emergency pet fund before you bring your pet home.

7 Things to Think About Before Adopting a Pet - Can I Afford a Pet?

Your new pet will probably not come with its own savings account.

3. Do I Have Time?

Different pets require different time commitments.

7 Things to Think About Before Adopting a Pet - Do I Have Time?

Make sure you know how much of your time your pet will need for attention, exercise, and grooming. If you work long hours or travel regularly, consider how that will fit into your pet care.

4. Will Your Companion Need a Companion?

Some animals are very social and need to have a companion. For example, ferrets can become depressed if they don’t have a ferret friend around, which means you effectively need to adopt them in pairs.

7 Things to Think About Before Adopting a Pet - Will Your Companion Need a Companion?

Other animals, like hamsters, are perfectly content to be the only pet around.

5. Is This Pet Legal?

Speaking of ferrets, did you know it’s illegal to own, breed, or sell ferrets in California and Hawaii?

7 Things to Think About Before Adopting a Pet - Is This Pet Legal?

Make sure the pet you’re thinking of adopting is legally allowed in your area. Different states and cities have different laws about exotic animals, so do your research if you’re considering anything other than a cat or pup.

6. Do I Have the Space?

How much space you’ll need will depend entirely on what kind of pet you’re looking at. It’s not just the size of the animal that matters: For example, a low-energy, medium-sized dog might require less space than a large cat. It’s not that the cat itself takes up more room, but the accompanying litter box does.

7 Things to Think About Before Adopting a Pet- Do I Have the Space?

Take into account your pet’s size, energy, and accompanying accessories, and figure out how that will fit into your apartment.

7. What Will Happen Down the Road?

The future is one of the most important things to think about when considering pet adoption. What will you do if you have to move somewhere that doesn’t allow pets? How will you handle your companion developing a chronic illness?

Asking these questions now will help you cross the bridge if you get to it and let you know if you’re ready to have a pet at all.

Souece: apartmentguide.com ~ By: 

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